The Labour of Making Labour Disappear
12 December 2018 – 11 January 2019
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
See the last phase of this project here.
The current wave of pervasive automation and the ever faster development and use of technologies of prediction are radically transforming and reorganising all forms of labour. As the delegation of tasks to machines becomes widespread, Sanela Jahić’s starting position in this project was to explore the possibility of a machine-conceived exhibition. What if her labour as an artist were automated? If a prediction algorithm were developed based on the collected database of her work, research and interests, in order to determine the content and aesthetics of her next artwork, would the algorithm then turn on itself? The fact that the algorithm is created to interpret the individual’s relation to technology and the way the latter influences the nature of labour, clearly puts such a machine in a particular loop.
Yet, this research also places the artist in a peculiar position. Formulated according to her artworks and her working methods, this particular technology of prediction will become more advanced and complex the more data it receives. It may then produce something surprising, something that surpasses our expectations and could be perceived or mistaken for the machine’s creativity. But what if that turns out to be something the artist fundamentally disagrees with? Would that be a reflection of her biases, given the fact that these technological systems are not neutral, but manmade and political, reproducing the values of the people who program them? And if she works alongside the algorithm to create the artworks for the exhibition in tandem, will the audience be able to distinguish which work was formulated by the machine? In addition, since she produces technologically supported kinetic objects, this requires that the algorithm – itself a machine – conceives works of art that are also machines.
The relations between machines and humans is one of the constants in Sanela Jahić’s work. Her latest production places the research of complex relations between technology and the social, individuals and their identity directly into the context of the critique of capitalist relations of production. This project continues her research into the intertwinement of technology, labour, capitalist production relations and subjectivity. Its realisation requires collaboration with experts in programming, computation, machine learning and process automation. Thinking through and with this technology enables her to investigate its complexity – instead of being overtaken by it – and disclose some of its hidden mechanics.
Sanela Jahić (1980, Kranj) graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana in 2008, and received her master’s degree in 2010 in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Jahić is an intermedia artist, who constructs visual and technologically supported kinetic objects and installations. Her artistic practice often involves collaboration with specialists for mechanical engineering, automation, software and electronics. She lives and works in Škofja Loka. Jahić has exhibited her work in numerous shows in Slovenia and abroad.
Author: Sanela Jahić
Technical support: Andrej Primožič
Graphic design: Vasja Cenčič
Development and programming of the predictive model, data visualisation: Iztok Lebar Bajec
Development and programming of the predictive model: Jure Demšar
Programming: Umer Muhammad
Photography: Janez Pelko
Data analysis and animation: Jernej Lunder
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2018
Co-production: Drugo more, Rijeka
Partner: Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana
This project is a co-production in the framework of the Dopolavoro flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, with support from the City of Rijeka – Department of Culture, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.
Aksioma’s programme is additionally supported by the Ministry of Public Administration as part of the public call for co-financing projects for the development and professionalisation of NGOs and volunteerism as well as by JSKD
7 November 2019–19 January 2020
MGLC – International Centre for Graphic Arts, Ljubljana
Curated by: Domenico Quaranta
Artists: Danilo Correale, Elisa Giardina Papa, Sanela Jahić, Silvio Lorusso, Jonas Lund, Michael Mandiberg, Sebastian Schmieg, Guido Segni
Automate all the Things!
14–15 January 2020
The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana
Speakers: Elisa Giardina Papa, Sanela Jahić, Silvio Lorusso, Michael Mandiberg, Domenico Quaranta, Sašo Sedlaček, Sebastian Schmieg